Day 1: A NaNoWriMo Cautionary Tale

Today is day one of NaNoWriMo and I have a bit of advice for those just starting their novels (newbies and experienced WriMos).

First, your word count for today should hit at least 1666 if you're planning on writing every day. At the moment of writing this, I'm hitting 1255 words right now with my first plotted "day 1" scene complete. (Once my child goes to bed, the remaining words will take care of themselves.)

Second, don't pad your novel with unnecessary words just for the sake of jacking up your word count. To my mind, this word inflation is a rookie mistake. If you pad your words now with fillers (over the top descriptions, excess dialogue, adverbs) just to watch the NaNo meter grow and to flex in front of your writer friends and scream, "Yeah, baby," then after November you'll be crying as you painstakingly go back into the word-bloated, thin-storied novel and try to trim the fat.

While I know you want to see productivity this month, I caution you that productivity in the form of hard editing later on isn't actually a climb upward, but more of a sideways trail. You'll do much better for yourself and your novel to take your time, choose the correct words for the job, and create a better story the first time around. This will also prove a valuable skill when you write the first drafts of other projects which don't take place during NaNoWriMo when word count isn't the goal.

I'd love to hear how your NaNo experience is going. Leave comments below.


  1. I will keep this in mind! My biggest problem is I try to write like I speak which is blunt and not as descriptive as it should be.

  2. How do I add friends to nanowrimo?

    As for padding words for the sake of count, that's a rookie mistake for any writing project. Something I've seen too many times reading blogs and other stuff online.

  3. Kay, that bluntness might be your "voice" as an author, so don't fight it. Many authors get lost in the description and forget to tell the actual story.

    Chris, from the NaNo page, click "search" at the top, right. Type in the name or username of someone on NaNo, and then click their profile if it comes up. On their profile page, look to the left of the photo to click "add as buddy" Easy as that.